By Ken MacLeod

SALEM (CBS) – The city of Salem is calling in reinforcements to handle the snowfall.

When the storm hits Wednesday, Salem’s teenagers will be pitching in to clear some busy crosswalks and sidewalks. “Sometimes you just need a shovel and strong back,” Mayor Kim Driscoll says.

When a big snow storm hits, Salem’s plow force can spend 24 to 36 hours clearing roads and sidewalks.

The trouble is the spaces in between. Entry ways to crosswalks are typically last on the list because they have to be done by hand.

So, Salem is tapping into several local groups to recruit a few dozen youngsters to shovel the areas out. Five teams of six or so will shovel roughly 90 of the Witch City’s busiest crosswalks in a more timely fashion.

“Hopefully we will have enough kids stepping up to participate in the program,” said Salem Public Works Director John Tomasz.

The shovel brigade will not be called for every storm, only the more severe ones. The workers will be in their late teens or early 20’s and the city will pay them $8 an hour.

The city admits some bugs have yet to be worked out, like supervision, but optimism is running high. “We really needed to attack it sooner, and this became can we put some people to work and actually get some work done that we really need,” Mayor Driscoll said.

The first shovel brigade will get a trial run during Wednesday’s storm.



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